"American Sheriff", 2018
Sheriffs and their deputies are the only form of law enforcement in large parts of the US, accounting for one-quarter of all sworn law enforcement officers nationwide, and do everything from run the jails to patrol the streets. But unlike police or FBI agents, who have clear oversight and a chain of command holding them accountable, sheriffs are elected often in highly partisan elections. Many sheriffs don’t have term limits, and encounter very few checks on their power once elected. They can only be removed when the public elects a new sheriff. Josh Rushing travels to two very different places, Bristol County, Massachusetts, and New Iberia, Louisiana, to investigate what can happen when the power of a sheriff goes unchecked.
Sheriffs hold an incredible amount of power and are allowed to run the jails in the ways that they see fit. We see a lot of abuses… I have never seen clear evidence that a sheriff faced serious electoral repercussions for the treatment of inmates in their jails.Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project